Car Dealers Against Literacy? (click here): The Greater Los Angeles New Car Dealers Association made a $5,000 contribution to Monrovia Reads, the local non-profit dedicated to 10% literacy in the community. A check for that amount was presented to the organization at their fundraiser on Saturday by Peter Hoffman of Sierra Auto Cars.
(Mod: We were initially shocked to read this. Usually the people who get involved in these kinds of charitable efforts pay heavy lip service to stuff like literacy. But upon reflection, this article was about Monrovia. So perhaps a 10% literacy rate does represent a step forward.)
Some Humarock Residents Discuss Seceding From Scituate In Bonfire Dispute (click here): The anger hasn't subsided in Humarock after 4th of July celebrations were cut short due to safety concerns. The neighborhood met Sunday morning to plan their next move in a quarrel with the Town of Scituate.
Nearly 100 people attended a meeting at the South Humarock Civic Association Clubhouse. At the meeting, some residents went so far as to call Scituate town officials "Fascists," and say Humarock needs to break away. The latest aggravation began earlier this month when residents claim the town was heavy-handed in enforcing a ban on beach bonfires.
"That was a full military operation, I mean hummers up and down the beach, state police helicopters, horseback, bomb squad, (and) a command post up the center," said Fred Hayden, who owns a summer home in Humarock.
(Mod: We're talking about seceding here on Grove Street. We just aren't certain about a reason for doing so yet.)
California Demon: A state fast becoming America's version of Greece (click here): Call it the European Disease: Run up spending and debt, raise taxes in the name of balancing the budget, then watch as jobs flee, deficits rise, and credit ratings fall.
Chief Executive magazine has just come out with a survey of 650 corporate CEOs on the business climate in their states. They ranked local conditions on a range of issues, including regulations, tax policies, work force quality, educational resources, quality of living, and infrastructure.
It won't surprise anyone who has followed the annual survey to learn which state finished in the back of the pack, and which finished first. California was dead last in attractiveness to business for the eighth year in a row, while Texas came in first for the eight consecutive time.
California parks department finds $54-million surplus (click here): California's parks system stashed away nearly $54 million even as it was cutting services and threatening to close parks, a revelation that prompted the resignation of the department's director Friday.
The hoarded cash remained untapped while the California Department of Parks and Recreation painted a dire picture of the system's health, soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations in what was thought to be a desperate scramble to keep facilities open.
The state planned to close 70 parks this month to save $22 million, less than half the amount of the department's hidden surplus. Almost all of the parks were kept open because of partnerships with other agencies, private donors and nonprofit groups.
"It disgusts me," said Myra Hilliard, who donated and helped raise money for the Pio Pico State Historic Park in Whittier. "Is anybody honest about anything anymore? Here we are working so hard to keep the park open and they have all this money they aren't telling us about."
Hilliard said elementary school students held a bake sale to raise $120 after being told the park might close. The park costs $80,000 a year to keep open.
Analysis: State Controller, Department of Finance $2.3 billion apart on special funds (click here): A week after uncovering a hidden-funds scandal at the state parks department, finance officials are now trying to piece together why the balance sheets for similar "special funds" are off by $2.3 billion - money that appeared to be right under their noses amid California's financial meltdown.
An analysis by the San Jose Mercury News of California's little-known 500-plus special funds - like the ones that included $54 million in parks money shielded from the Department of Finance - shows tens of millions of dollars in discrepancies in numerous accounts.
The fund that gives restitution to violent crime victims was off by $29 million. The one that provides children with low-cost health insurance was $30 million out of balance. The fund that rewards people for recycling bottles and cans was $113 million off.
The newspaper's review found at least 17 accounts that appeared to have significantly more reserve cash than what individual departments reported to the finance department, though it's unclear why.
(Mod: Maybe that is why we are being asked to vote for a tax increase in November. They misplaced some of the other money we gave them.)
The Search for Paul Alva: For many of us Chairman Paul Alva, who is usually just about the only person to talk at Green Committee meetings, is something of a mystery. He is, in case you don't know, the guy who wants to make Sierra Madre "just a little bit greener." Unfortunately, he has bought into the Sacramento fallacy that you can do so by building high-density mixed-use SCAG Housing downtown. Constructing condos, and lots of them, somehow being the way to stop global warming. An idea that is, of course, nuts.
So we've launched a "Where's Waldo" style internet search in hopes of finding Paul in his native habitat. Here is one of the document that has turned up so far (click here). If you find any others be sure to send them our way.
Enjoy what is expected to be a beautiful Sunday.